Providing audio feedback for student assignments 1: Create an audio file

Glyndŵr’s Centre for Learning, Teaching and Assessment recently published guidelines on standardising content for module sites on Moodle, which include suggestions for additional uses of Moodle to support learning. One idea is that ‘Generic audio feedback on assessments can be provided rapidly‘,  so we thought we would give you some ideas about how to go about this.

As part of the JISC Building Capacity project, Glyndŵr produced some guidance on getting started:

and you can listen to one of lecturers, Mike Bellis, discussing the pros and cons of using of audio feedback as as part of this project:

JISC Digital Media, as usual, provide some excellent guidance on Audio Feedback:

Audio feedback can be provided to students who submit assessments through Moodle in a number of ways:

  1. Create an audio file that you upload as a response file in Moodle
  2. Embed audio files as ‘objects’ in an MS Word document
  3. Use screencasting software to display students’ work as you talk about it.

In this post we’ll explain how to create an audio file. These days there are quite a lot of free online tools around that allow you to create audio recordings quickly and easily (such as Vocaroo or Audioboo). However, we do not recommend that you use these for providing student feedback, as these tools store a copy of your recordings online, and they can then be accessed by anybody with access to the internet. Obviously, given the issue of data protection, we need to use tools that allow us to store feedback files on our own machines and within Moodle (which is not open to the public to view). Another alternative could be to use the in-built Sound recorder (on most Windows machines). However, there are many known issues with using this tool in pre-Vista operating systems, so it might be better to avoid this method too.

So, here are some of the methods we would recommend:

  • We have a number of Ultra Disk voice recorders that are available for staff to borrow (please contact Alicia Owen or Dave Mosford), and we can also provide training on how to use them. You could record your feedback, save it, transfer it to your PC and upload it as a response file when giving feedback to a student on a Moodle assignment. The advantage of these recorders is that the sound quality is really good, and they are portable.
  • Alternatively, if you have a microphone/headset, you could use some of the free, online and downloadable software that allows you to create audio files without them being stored automatically on the internet. Tools like this include Audacity or the AVS audio recorderwhere the file is stored on your machine (not the internet). If you want to keep it simple, then the AVS recorder is probably the best option, and you should just download the recorder (you would have to pay for the editor version anyway). If you are quite confident with the editing side of things, then Audacity provides the editing options for free. If you want to install either of these tools on the machines on campus, you will probably need to contact the IT helpdesk for help downloading (they will need to override the anti-virus protection temporarily). The screencast below explains how to create an AVS recording and upload it as a response file to your student’s assignment.

Provide audio feedback 1: create an audio file using AVS

In the next post on audio feedback we’ll explain how to record and embed audio files into an MS Word document.


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